One of the eight limbs of Ayurveda is exercise. Yoga is a type of exercise often used as a method of rehabilitating and calming the mind. Yoga is mentioned as central to the Ayurvedic daily routine known as dinacharya. Also, and more poignantly we might add, yoga is used for the rehabilitation of the body. Specifically, we are seeing a rise in the use of yoga to tackle sports injuries.
Sports medicine often uses yoga as a means increasing vascularity, blood flow, flexibility and strength. It’s also used in cohort with several other treatments to ensure the healthiest recovery of bone, nerve and muscle tissue. Knowledge from Ayurveda can be used in essence as a form of Ayurvedic sports medicine, for all types of injuries.
Physicality of Sports Injuries
Ayurveda is based on the foundation of balance. An injury would be the crux upon which an external and internal balance has to be created. Finding the balance of applied rehabilitation is crucial here with a caveat. As with any form of conventional Western-style sports medicine, exertion here is not what is aimed for. So much so that Ayurvedic text comments that when we begin to feel so much exertion that we stop breathing through the nose we must stop. This is that caveat. Overexertion in Ayurveda for recovery of injuries is not recommended. We must not push our body beyond 50% load.
Regularity in Ayurvedic Sports Medicine
If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a thousand times. Diets, workout plans, and Ayurveda itself will never prove to be fruitful without the discipline of consistency. Ayurvedic Sports Medicine additionally has a few extra snippets that facilitate you:
Here are a few general guidelines:
- People under the age of 25 should engage in effective sports.
- People between the ages of 25 to 40 should engage in moderate exercise
- People above the age of 40 should consider even more moderate exercise.
- Aim to workout between 6 and 10 am.
Depending on your dosha these are the sports you should undertake:
- Vatas should consider low intensity sports for 15-20 mins like walking, cycling or dancing
- Kaphas can tolerate moderate sports like running or rowing.
- Pittas can tolerate vigorous activities and can benefit from intensive sports like surfing, or climbing.
Ayurvedic Food in Sports Medicine
Ayurvedic Sports Medicine believes that one should spend less time counting calories and focusing on vitamin and mineral intake. One should decide what the body needs based on individual requirement. Lunch should be the primary meal of the day, where breakfast and dinner are far smaller meals. Regularity of meals is an important part of healing your body through routine.
For demanding physical tasks, almond milk is shown to aid digestion and provide a good source of energy.
In regards to supplementation in sports, Ayurveda recommends a Rasayana (a potent mixture of herbs) including Amlaki churna. This has shown to aid natural holistic immune booster as well as muscle building (anabolic) properties.
Mentality for Ayurveda
Where the mind goes the body follows. Focused control thoughts have been shown to promote natural healing within bodily natural tissue. Not to mention that after a workout, the body release neurotransmitters like oxytocin, dopamine and serotonin. These are responsible for feelings of joy and love.
The last thing you need to allow for yourself is time. You can’t rush an injury, or you risk the chance of causing yourself even more harm. If you’re an athlete that could ground you or double your time of recovery. But that generally translates to more time under tension until you can get back to your usual amazing shape. Check out some of these gentle stretches for an injured back below in just 30 minutes: